Moss, lichen, ferns, seedlings, leaves, bark, pine needles: seen on the Bruce Peninsula (October 2020)

I’m discovering the divine in the small things. Once I thought I needed to be grandiose, expansive, powerful and explosive in order to be heard and valued. These were the elements of my singing and my performing that I felt were my strengths, my signatures. It turns out that being willing to be small, simple and detailed without being fussy has benefits beyond measure. I’ve been working with my students on very granular kinds of exercises; speaking text quietly but intently while holding our palm up to our lips, trying to be as economical as possible with the air (newly coined as the “Face Palm”!); singing with our mouths as closed as possible and keeping diction clean and precise but compact (“Vowel Jail”); spending time observing the breath cycle and noticing the “spaces between” the more active phases of inhalation and exhalation; speaking in a very “on the breath”, chest-connected voice which elicits more primal sounds. All of these practices are incredibly illuminating without being extroverted in the least.

The immediacy of delivery and the ability to communicate a message with the simplest of means is a gift. In this time of overload, where everything seems to be so loud, we appreciate the distilling of a thing to its most perfect essence. It feels like something rare and curious: this Goddess of Small Things. We don’t need to shout to the rooftops, we don’t need to tell it on the mountain, we can, with our still, small, humble voice speak a gentle and whispered truth from the heart: I am here. I care. What I have to say (and sing) is small but important.